Captain William Knox gave a brief history of his days as a pilot.  William retired last year from his job as a pilot with Ethiopian Airlines. He has always been interested in flying and wasn’t as interested in school so he went to flight school and became a pilot. His first position was in Wiarton where he was also an instructor for 11 years. He flew all over Ontario and several times to Newfoundland. He noted that it was always extremely windy in St. John’s – one time it as so windy that his small plane was being blown all over the place and had to be welded in place by freezing the wheels to the tarmac using water.
He graduated from the small 14 seat plane to the DC4 – a plane that he really loved to fly even though it was old and leaked oil. He graduated from the DC4 to a Convair and was, for the first time, a Captain (the head pilot). Over his career he worked for several airlines given the ups and downs of the airline industry. He worked in Guyana for 5 years. He was working for ICC Canada and flying often to Mexico when he met his wife Carlotta. Carlotta herself was once a member of DVSRC.
In 2001 9/11 happened and then the SARS outbreak. The result was a great decline in air travel so William took a job in Thailand for a year and a half before landing in Ethiopia for 11 and a half years. When Covid hit in 2020 and William had grown tired of the 15 hour flights, he called it a day and retired.

William lamented how computers were taking over control of the aircraft instead of pilots. This has lead to two serious crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX jets – Lionair Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 almost exactly 2 years ago. He also spoke of the deference that Asian pilots pay to the Captain. This point was also made in the Malcolm Gladwell book “Outliers” related to the crash of Korean Airlines Flight 801.

During question period William was asked about the “Gimli Glider”. This is the famous story of an Air Canada flight between Montreal and Edmonton. About half way across the country the plane ran out of fuel and the pilot had to “glide” the plane into Gimli Manitoba. “The ground crew needed to enter the fuel quantity into the flight computer in kilograms, but they mistakenly did the calculation with the density of jet fuel in pounds/litre. (This happened in 1983 when Canada had only recently changed from the Imperial system of measurement to the metric system (SI)). A much more detailed description of the incident is available here: